Sonerai II project

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Posted

Yesterday the wife and I traveled down to Virginia to pick up a mostly complete "kit" for a Sonerai II. Since there really wasn't a full kit available this guy had spent years fiddling around to get everything put together to build one. He bought a tack welded fuselage and then amassed a lot of odd and ends parts. It's not totally complete but all the major components are there including the aluminum for the wings as well as pre-fabbed ribs and pre-bent spars. 

I did this in lieu of being able to find another Avid to build. Also I have no idea if or when I'll ever finish this one. I'm going to try to use it as just a learning platform and a time killing project. If it ever flies, then great, if I sell it then great. No real agenda and I'm going to work to not get too emotionally attached to it so I can sell it easily when the time comes. 

Since I got everything for probably less than 25% of what the materials cost I figured I couldn't really lose anything on it. If I parted it out right now I'm pretty sure I could make quite a bit on it. 

I got it home late last night so I didn't even take any pictures of it all loaded up. I also didn't take any inventory of all the parts yet so I'm not even completely sure what is in a couple of the boxes. Maybe when it warms up above freezing in the garage later this week. 

Stay tuned!

Kenneth

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Posted

Congrats Kenneth, on getting a project - what about an engine for it?  Keep us posted on progress.

EDMO

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Posted

Ed, Still working on that aspect. I have a line on a Revmaster 2180CC (VW variant) for it that was slated for another Sonerai that never got built. It's been sitting around in a house boxed up for a few years but only has 4 hours of ground run time. That's what the Sonerai was designed for so I'm keeping it 4 stroke and so it will fit under the factory type cowling. Since I got the package deal for less than the price of two major parts I could part it out and make money on the deal. That's not the goal but it's nice knowing that I could get my money back from this one in parts.

 

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Posted

Congrats Kenneth!  Good to hear your back into a plane to work on.  Look forward to the progress reports.

Randy

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Thanks Randy. I wish I could have come up with an Avid to stretch and go back with the Subaru. I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to go magneto as a secondary ignition instead of running two coils. Of course I could still do both so I'd have almost a triple redundant system. The plan of attack for now is to use this as a project to fill my time. Then hopefully I can find someone later that has an Avid project I can rework back into a Mark V setup with just a few changes. 

Today, with the Noreaster moving in I got the bare fuselage out of the garage and into the heated sun room. It's not really progress but I also did a quick inventory of everything I got from the previous owner. All in all I ended up with an incredible deal on everything. I have: tack welded fuselage, full wing kit (including ailerons), welded tail feathers, rudder, elevator, canopy, main gear, tailwheel and spring rod, spinner, fuel tank, some hardware, pre-built rudder cables and many years of paperwork, including a hand signed note and receipt from creator John Monnett about the wing kit from Christmas 1982. Apparently the wife of the original builder bought it for him for Christmas as a gift but it wouldn't make it there so John wrote him a note letting him know about it. Pretty cool history for a bunch of parts already. 

I'm working on finishing a custom piece of aviation furniture and want to focus on it before I start into the build on this thing. I'll hopefully have pictures of the project soon.

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Posted

:news:

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It's been almost a month since I picked up this project. Most of this time I've spent pouring over the plans and trying to figure out what materials I have and what I need. After exhaustive page by page searching I finally made two large orders for materials today. Wicks was having a free shipping weekend so that helped out a lot. Plus another metal supplier had 20% off so I finished up the aluminum with them. They were hands down cheaper than Spruce or Wicks so I figured I'd give them a try. 

Most of the reason I didn't really get started was because I've been working on building a table for a design competition. Since I finished that on Monday I could finally get working in earnest on this project. 

On Tuesday I builtIMG_2549.thumb.JPG.a335cf57603b3cefcd5dc a work bench so I could have the fuselage up off the floor for welding at standing height. I was able to use almost all the wood from the wood crate I got last week with the Revmaster engine. 

Two days ago I finished measuring all the tack welded fuselage and jumped into welding mode. Of course I did two welds and ran out of O2 in my torch...off the store I went. Luckily they had an extra 20 pound bottle in stock since mine was out of inspection (by about 15 years). I went back to welding and got about 1/4 of the fuselage finish welded in 6.5 hours. Not too bad! I realize there are a lot of little pieces that aren't there yet but at least I have a good start. 

I'm lucky in that the house I'm living on currently has a huge garage plus a large heated sun IMG_2558.thumb.JPG.d5958a65de0070ea6b193room. It's been way too cold to be in the drafty garage so I've set up shop in the sun room for the winter. It's nice having it off the office and heated as well!

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Posted

i love that table ,awesome

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Posted

I spent a total of 22 hours welding and working on the fuselage this week. No real progress that warrants pictures though. I'm fighting with figuring out vertical stabilizer ribs (see post about that one in the general forum). 

All the clusters are completely welded and I repositioned the horizontal tail spar forward to where it needed to be. That was a pain! 

I no longer have a vertical stabilizer as the one in the picture above was WAY bigger than the plans called for. I am building it slightly bigger but not 30% over original size. I don't see a need to seriously modify something that works fairly well. I'm only wanting a little bit of an edge in yaw stability. 

I've also managed to run through almost a complete 20 cubic foot bottle of oxygen already. It's been a long time since I went through that much welding. The worst part was my old bottle was last hydro tested in 1994, that give you 5 years. So I had to trade it in on another owner bottle. The hydro testing fee was $27.50, the O2 refill was only $17.50 Last hydro I had done was only about $15 so that was a surprise. I'm sure the welding shop just charges that and doesn't pay nearly that much for it. Oh well, at least I'm good for 5 years with the bottle I got now. Progress is moving forward!

I received three material shipments this week too. I should have all the 4130 I need to finish the fuselage, controls, pedals and anything else in that realm that require welding. Plus I have all the materials to build the wings now too. Hopefully I can keep up the momentum and have the fuselage welded and everything ready for bead blasting next week or so. Then I have to find someone to blast it and get it painted or powder coated. I'd love to go powder coating but not sure about the cost. The durability of it sure is better though. 

Any suggestions on painting vs powder coating on the fuse and tubing parts?

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Posted

Whichever you do, it needs to be done within 24 hours after being blasted - the company who did my blasting painted it the same day.

EDMO

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Posted

Looks good Kenneth.  That sunroom sure makes a nice workspace.  There was an earlier discussion on powder coating costs somewhere on the forum here.  The costs varied WIDELY. If you can find it, it should give you some idea of the cost range.

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Posted

Thanks Randy, I'll go see if I can find that thread.

In other news I keep working on this project. I got most of the tank support/engine support geometry in place today. That was a tricky one since it all comes together at a point in space that you can't just measure to easily. I found it easiest to put the tank in place and then make everything come to the point it should have on the tank. 

Put in another 3 hours today. I am redesigning the vertical stabilizer a bit too. from an aesthetics perspective I don't like the rounded ones on most Sonerai. I'm going squared off but with a small diameter bend on the leading edge transitioning to the top. Also I'm adding about 15% area to the V.S. Seems these little fast planes could stand to have just a touch more surface area to them to provide better yaw stability. I don't want to go so big that it hampers cross wind landing ability though. My rudder is already slightly larger than the plans call for. Since this plane started as a design as a racer from John Monnett back in the late 60's it only has about a 5% vertical tail area to square foot of wing surface. As a comparison most planes start around 10%. This could be a very good reason that the Sonerai is considered to be about neutrally stable in yaw. From most of the flight reports I can find they say that the plane does exactly what you tell it to do, and stays doing it until you tell it to do something else. At least it's not divergent! 

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Posted

I got most of the rest of the front cluster done today other than the two tubes that go to the upper and lower engine mounts. Since my Revmaster case is slightly different than the one in the plans I am having to figure out where to place then exactly. Side to side is obviously not an issue but up and down mine is 3/8 of an inch longer between the mount holes. I’m thinking it should just move to be centered, so up 3/16”. I also got the landing gear bushings mounted as well as the frame stiffener/supports. That was a chore in and of itself. I missed the bushing placement when I welded the rest of the frame solid and had to go back and cut out some of the cross supports to clear the space where they welded in. 

 

I also broke down and built a metal brake today. I didn’t want to spend $200 for one from harbor freight since I could make my own. It ended up working out really well since I had just enough 3x3” angle iron to make one that will bend up to 33.5”. The one from H.F. will only do 30”. Plus it didn’t cost me anything but 5 hours of work. I built it on the side of my very sturdy roll around mig welding cart so it just made my table even more capable for fabrication.

 

My wife will be gone for the next three days for work. Which means I don't have to stop working on it when she would normally get home at night to make dinner. Hopefully I can make that relate to more work on the plane this week. 

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Posted

Wow, guess it's been longer than I thought between postings for this build. It isn't because I haven't done anything though. The past two weeks I've probably put in around 40 hours or so more of welding and building small parts. I have almost all the parts built for the fuselage, wing folding mechanisms, etc. The fuselage is fully welded now and even has the seats install. The control tubes are all in minus the aileron pushrods, they are only two rod ends with a very short rod between them though. 

I'm working on building the turtle deck (it's a welded part of the fuselage) and then canopy frame. I should have it on it's gear later this week if I don't take too much time off to go fishing. I'm also headed to Utah to see my kids for a couple weeks as well so that won't help the progress any for sure. 

Two nights ago I sat in the seat for the first time. This plane is VERY long in front of the pilot since you fly from the rear seat. I'm also surprised how tight it is. It's larger than my Teenie Two by about 3 inches inside the cockpit but I feel tighter for some reason. I also have less leg room since the tandem seat interferes with my big feet. I'm going to have to really watch what shoes I wear to fly it. If it ever gets to that point. 

I m also working on getting the engine all together again. It was pulled apart to inspect the internals. It appears it really does only have a couple hours of ground run on it so it's going back together with nothing needing to be done, for now. I want to upgrade the camshaft and possibly add larger valve heads in the future but I also don't mind running this one for the phase one, then maybe pull it down again to make sure everything is good. These engines are just so easy to pull apart that it's not a tough decision to do it again later. I once had my VW bug engine torn down and put back together and in the car again before the oil was cooled down.

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I got most of the rest of the front cluster done today other than the two tubes that go to the upper and lower engine mounts. Since my Revmaster case is slightly different than the one in the plans I am having to figure out where to place then exactly. Side to side is obviously not an issue but up and down mine is 3/8 of an inch longer between the mount holes. I’m thinking it should just move to be centered, so up 3/16”. I also got the landing gear bushings mounted as well as the frame stiffener/supports. That was a chore in and of itself. I missed the bushing placement when I welded the rest of the frame solid and had to go back and cut out some of the cross supports to clear the space where they welded in. 

 

 

 

I also broke down and built a metal brake today. I didn’t want to spend $200 for one from harbor freight since I could make my own. It ended up working out really well since I had just enough 3x3” angle iron to make one that will bend up to 33.5”. The one from H.F. will only do 30”. Plus it didn’t cost me anything but 5 hours of work. I built it on the side of my very sturdy roll around mig welding cart so it just made my table even more capable for fabrication.

 

My wife will be gone for the next three days for work. Which means I don't have to stop working on it when she would normally get home at night to make dinner. Hopefully I can make that relate to more work on the plane this week. 

Ha hard to work when your stomach is growling at you. Might have to stop and feed it a 12oz steak in a can

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Posted (edited)

I also broke down and built a metal brake today. I didn’t want to spend $200 for one from harbor freight since I could make my own. It ended up working out really well since I had just enough 3x3” angle iron to make one that will bend up to 33.5”. The one from H.F. will only do 30”. Plus it didn’t cost me anything but 5 hours of work. I built it on the side of my very sturdy roll around mig welding cart so it just made my table even more capable for fabrication.

 

Ken - Please do show the brake you created.  Inquiring eyes want to see.

Edited by allonsye

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Ken - Please do show the brake you created.  Inquiring eyes want to see.

I'll work on cleaning it up enough to see it and get a picture of it tomorrow Paul.

I ran out of O2 again today and am very low acetylene as well. Looks like another trip to the welding suppy store. I really hope they have a 75 CF AC cylinder...mine was last hydro tested in maybe 1974??? I've had this setup for years and never used this much gas. Of course usually it was just to cut or heat something. Spending hours on end welding in a week sure burns through it quickly. If they have another owner tank they can swap me out they will just charge me the $27 hydro fee (which I gather is about double the going rate) but I'll have a full tank the same day. If not it's a month wait to get it tested and filled again....I seriously hope not. If that happens I'll just move on to building wings. 

I did manage to get temporary gear retaining straps built just to get it on it's own gear for the first time. This also allowed me to sit it in at so I can see how the attitude is. It doesn't look bad right now but I don't have the cowling, engine, tank and everything else up front to limit my view either. I don't think it will be all that bad once it's all together though. I KNOW it won't be as bad as the Waco's I've flown, they have zero forward visibility while taxing, taking off and landing. Since I have it on the gear I also installed the controls to see how much travel my legs will limit. Doesn't look too bad. Hopefully the cockpit will feel a bit bigger once it's all together though. It sure feels smaller than my Teenie Two, which is strange since physically it's quite a bit large. 

Basically I have the instrument panel supports, turtle deck and a bunch of little tabs to weld up to finish the fuselage. I'm sure there are a few odds and ends but it's starting to look like an airplane at least. 

Has anyone here used the mechanical brakes that the old early Avid's had? This plane came with a set and I'm still not sure if I even want to attempt to use them. Supposedly they aren't for stopping but rather for taxiing and doing run ups. That's about all they are good for apparently. I have a set of hydraulic disk brakes in Utah and I'm seriously considering picking them up next week while I'm out there. Along with a long list of other things I need that I have in storage, like paint, etc. 

Pictures will be coming up tomorrow.

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I would not even think about using the old drum brakes.. calling them any type of brake is an oxymoron.  I think you would do better to cut holes in the bottom of the fuse and drag your feet.

My avid amphib had the drum brakes in it and when talking to the original builder / flyer, there were days when he couldn't taxi in a cross wind due to the brakes being all but totally ineffective.

Can't wait for more pics!  your kicking some serious butt on getting this bird put together.

 

:BC:

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As promised here are a couple pictures, including one of the metal brake I built. 

I got the jack screw mounted in for the trim setup, started on the turtle deck (no picture yet though), reworked the vertical tail spar as it was slightly tweaked and got the tailwheel spring set up a bit better as well. I have two though and I'm still not sure which one to use. One is a factory unit and has quite a bit of slop in the bearings, the other is heavier and longer. I've been told since they have a solid connecting rod for the steering that they are a breeze as far as tailwheel aircraft to land, take off and taxi. I think this is about the only way people have gotten away with the drum brakes. The drums are brand new to a tune of $200 from Sonex LLC. Seems they can get them to work. I'm still leaning towards putting hydraulic ones in place though. My biggest dilemma with that is I don't intend to keep this and want to keep the brake setup for my next project. (seriously thinking of rebuilding the Mark V...mostly from scratch).

IMG_2573.JPG

IMG_2575.JPG

IMG_2578.JPG

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For some reason I was having network issues, trying again for more pictures.

IMG_2580.JPG

IMG_2584.JPG

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Maybe my pictures are just too big....I'll get a picture resizer (you believe a new computer doesn't come with it?) and try it again tomorrow. I also realized that I didn't leave the tail group on for the pictures. Guess I'll have to reinstall them at some point to check everything anyway. I need to get the pedals in and rig cables as well as finish the elevator pushrod so I'll do it then.

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The software should automatically resize the pics when you upload them.  You can also resize them in MS paint easily.

Your kicking some ass on getting this bird welded out!  Nice fab work mr!

 

:BC:

 

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Thanks again Leni, it sure helps to be semi-retired and only have to do what I want during the day. 

I put in another 7 hours today. Got the turtle deck completely built and welded up and then got the majority of the canopy frame welded as well. I still need to make all the crazy little hinge bushings and get them welded, and also the hinge mechanisms as well. They aren't much more than a 1 1/2" C so that the canopy can hinge to the side around the upper longeron. Then I can build the canopy skirt. I'm going to go the fiberglass route for that, just because I have enough fiberglass and epoxy to do that so it won't cost me anything but time. Plus the fiberglass skirts are so much easier to have nice compound curves in them instead of trying to form aluminum skins to bend to the shape I want. 

The turtle deck will also get a half C cover to fair out the fabric. That is also supposed to be aluminum as well but I'm trying to figure out how to get a 1x6.5' piece of .020 aluminum that won't cost me an arm and a leg. May just make it out of fiberglass as well. I also have one small piece of 18oz carbon fiber cloth that I will lay up flat for the instrument panel. Just figured if I can, why not!?

The last picture is what I'm going for with the lower turtle deck instead of a slant back from the top of the canopy. I personally like the looks a bit better. Plus it's kind of a poor man's RV4 this way. 

IMG_2589.JPG

IMG_2592.JPG

Sonerai gear2.jpg

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There is a Sonerai 1 on ebay experimental planes with two engines - looks nice.  EDMO

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I actually emailed with that guy about trading for my Teenie Two. The logistics of getting it wasn't good plus I've been told I won't fit in the mid-wing plane since the spar carry through sits so high and doesn't allow for long legged guys like me. He wouldn't even try to meet half way and wanted me to just come drop off the Teenie and pick it up. It would have been a good even trade really but just not worth the hassle for me. 

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